TOPEKA – (June 29, 2016) -- The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division returned more than $12 million to consumers and taxpayers last year, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
In its annual report filed today with the governor and Kansas Legislature, Schmidt’s office reported $12.26 million in savings and recoveries to Kansas consumers and the state treasury in calendar year 2015. During Schmidt’s administration, the division recovered a total of more than $130 million.
“We are proud of the work our consumer protection staff does every day to protect Kansans from fraud, scams and rip-offs,” Schmidt said. “While these recoveries are significant, what’s more important is that we were able to return to Kansas consumers their money that was wrongfully taken from them, no matter the amount. Preventive measures such as education and outreach can help consumers to protect themselves and avoid becoming a victim.”
The division also successfully prosecuted three defendants accused of criminally defrauding consumers.
The Roofing Registration Unit completed its second full year of operations, with 1,126 contractors being registered and in good standing to provide roofing services in Kansas as of December 31, 2015. The division was also charged with implementation of the Scrap Metal Theft Reduction Act, adopted by the Legislature in 2015. That new law requires scrap metal dealers to register with the attorney general’s office.
The office also continued its efforts to educate Kansas consumers on ways to avoid scams. Schmidt and his staff made 93 presentations on topics such as identity theft and scam prevention. The consumer protection website, www.InYourCornerKansas.org, provides a user-friendly way for Kansas consumers to learn how to protect themselves and file complaints and was viewed by more than 48,000 unique users in 2015.
The Consumer Protection Division is led by Deputy Attorney General Jim Welch. Special Agent in Charge Tonya Hutchings leads the team of investigators. Schmidt is a former assistant attorney general for consumer protection, a position he held during the administration of former Attorney General Carla Stovall. He currently serves as a member of the Consumer Protection Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General and is past chair of that committee.
The 2015 Consumer Protection Annual Report is available online at http://1.usa.gov/2909xzs.